Lange Gas Turbines Power Plant

2900 Lange Rnch Rd, Rapid, SD, 57702

Category: Power Plant
State: South Dakota

Power plants (or power stations) convert "fossil fuels" (coal, natural gas and oil) into electric power. Most of the things we do every day and much of the stuff we use owe much gratitude to these energy factories. 

There are several types of power plants; the ones that are generating heat in some way are called thermal power plants. One such thermal plan is a steam turbine. Steam flows into the turbine through the huge pipes thereby turning the windmill-like turbine. As it spins, it turns the electricity generator connected to it thus generating power for the grid.

Natural gas plants work in a slightly different way that's quite similar to how a jet engine works. Instead of making steam, they burn a steady stream of gas and use that to drive a slightly different design of turbine (called a gas turbine) instead.
Nuclear power plants work in a similar way to simple cycle coal or oil plants but, instead of burning fuel, they smash atoms apart to release heat energy. This is used to boil water, generate steam and drive a steam turbine and generator in the usual way. 

While all these types of power plants are essentially thermal (generating and releasing heat to drive a steam or gas turbine), two other very common types don't use any heat whatsoever. Hydroelectric and pumped storage plants are designed to funnel vast amounts of water past enormous water turbines which drive generators directly. 

In a hydroelectric plant, a river is backed up behind a massive concrete dam. The water can escape through a relatively small opening in the dam called a penstock and, as it does it makes the turbines spin. As long as the river flows, the turbines spin and the dam generates hydroelectric power. 

A single large power plant can generate enough electricity (about 2,000 megawatts) to supply a couple of hundred thousand homes, the same amount of power you could make with about 1000 large wind turbines working 24/7. 

Electricity is brilliant, but it's also very dangerous. Power plants and transmission lines carry electricity at incredibly high voltages—thousands of times greater than those used in your home. Playing anywhere near power equipment is extremely dangerous. Don't fly a kite near power lines or play soccer nearby.